How to make a kitchen island from a standard cabinet base

Create a kitchen island using a standard cabinet base to provide additional workspace and storage in your kitchen. Standard cabinets provide a cost-effective alternative to custom built kitchen islands and are an easy do-it-yourself project for even a beginner. They allow you to make your kitchen island whatever size suits the space you have available in your kitchen.

Determine the space you have available in your kitchen for your kitchen island to select the appropriate sized cabinet base for your project. Measure your kitchen area with a measuring tape, making sure to allow adequate work space around the island.

Select a cabinet base from your local home improvement store that corresponds with your available area. A single cabinet base will often provide adequate storage and work area for your kitchen island, but two smaller cabinet base pieces connected with a countertop can be used to create a larger island area.

Once the base cabinets have been selected, measure the three sides of the cabinet that are exposed. Purchase enough bead board or cabinet laminate to cover all exposed surfaces and provide a clean look to your island. Generally a single 4-foot by 8-foot piece of bead board or laminate will be sufficient.

Select a piece of countertop that coordinates with your existing kitchen counters or purchase a butcher block countertop of the appropriate size to fit your cabinet base. Allow for at least a quarter of an inch overhang on each side of the cabinet base.

Cut the bead board or cabinet laminate with a table or circular saw to fit the three exposed sides of your cabinet base and attach it to the base using construction adhesive.

Attach the countertop to your cabinet by using construction adhesive. Use screws to help secure the countertop. Insert screws from the underside of the cabinet into the bottom of the countertop.

Paint or stain your cabinet base to match the decor of your kitchen.

Attach drawers and cabinet pulls to your cabinet base.


Attach locking casters to each of the four corners of the cabinet base to provide mobility to your kitchen island. Lock the wheels into place when the island is in use, and then release the locks to move the island out of the way if necessary. Add trim to your kitchen island to cover any minor imperfections or provide an additional decorative quality to your project.

Things You'll Need

  • Standard cabinet base
  • Counter top
  • Bead board or cabinet laminate
  • Tape measure
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Table or circular saw
  • Construction adhesive
  • Cabinet handles and drawer pulls
  • Locking casters (optional)
  • Paint or stain (optional)


Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Heather Marlman is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. Her articles have appeared in print in the Southern Indiana newspapers "The Banner-Gazette," "The Leader," "The Giveaway" and "The Washington County Edition" as well as online at various websites.